Cairns confirms County squad for second FOSROC Super6 season
Stirling County Head Coach Ben Cairns has confirmed his 32-man squad for the second season of the FOSROC Super6.
Cairns’ team kick-off their campaign on Saturday 31 July when they host Southern Knights at Bridgehaugh – kick-off 3pm.
His squad of 32 players consists of 27 players signed by the club and five players who are aligned to Stirling County as contracted FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy players.
The Caledonia side has retained nearly 60% of their squad from the inaugural season of the FOSROC Super6.
Just over half of this season’s squad have previously played senior rugby for Stirling County, and 40% have played their youth rugby with the club too. This year there are five players stepping up to play in the FOSROC Super6 from the club’s Tennent’s National League 1 side, Stirling Wolves.
Hooker Reyner Kennedy will captain Stirling’s FOSROC Super6 side for a second season. Kennedy, who is the brother of Scotland Women’s international Megan, started his rugby career at Hillfoots RFC. The former Scotland U20 cap joined Stirling County aged 13 and has played there since.
Kennedy said: “Spirits are high within the group, everyone is buzzing to get the campaign started. Preparation has gone well, our pre-season fixtures have allowed us to blow the cobwebs away after the long break.
“Southern Knights are first up which always brings a close encounter. We look forward to the challenge at Bridgehaugh in front of a good crowd.”
Returning to the club this season is centre Archie Russell. Russell started his rugby career at Stirling County and played through to the 1XV in 2014. The mid-field player, who is the brother of Scotland international and British & Irish Lion Finn Russell, has represented Scotland at all age-grade representative levels and was part of the Scotland squad in the 2015 World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Italy.
In 2017, Russell studied a Master’s in technology policy at Cambridge Universities St Edmund’s College and won the annual Varsity Match against rivals Oxford University during his time there.
Stepping up to the Super6 team from the Stirling Wolves side is Callum Cruikshank, a young back row who has represented Scotland U18. Also making the move up is centre Craig Robertson who has only ever played for the Bridgehaugh side.
George Breese is a young prop with pace and strength. He has just returned from representing Scotland at the U20 Six Nations championship in Cardiff where he made appearances in all five games.
Joining Stirling County to play in the FOSROC Super6 for the first time is Stevie Hamilton. The full-back, who hails from Dalkeith was part of the 2020 Scotland Club XV side when he played for Currie Chieftains.
Looking to make his mark this season will be back row Ali Mackie. The No 8 was side-lined through injury for much of the first season but in the one game he did play, he scored a hat-trick of tries to ensure his side (who were bottom of the table) overcame city outfit Watsonians who sat top.
The five players aligned to Stirling from the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy include three players who have also just returned from representing Scotland at the Under-20 Six Nations.
Stand-off Euan Cunningham, who kicked three conversations for the age-grade side is a native of Stirling and has only ever played for the club. Winger Ross McKnight makes the step up to Stirling’s Super6 side from the Wolves and had previously represented Scotland at U18 level.
Second row Max Williamson played in all five of Scotland’s games in the Under-20 Six Nations. The 18-year old, who stands at 201cm (6ft 6”), was invited to train with the Scotland senior squad earlier this year during the 2021 Guinness Six Nations.
Murphy Walker, who is a native of Dundee, is a dynamic ball-carrying prop who represented Scotland in both the 2018 and 2019 World Rugby Under-20 Championships.
Another product of Dundee is Academy hooker Angus Fraser. The former recipient of the MacPhail Scholarship has previously represented Scotland at U18 and U20 level.
Stirling County Head Coach Ben Cairns said: “We are delighted to finally have the full 32-man squad confirmed, we are really happy with the final squad assembled.
“There is good depth and versatility within the squad that will enable us to play in different ways. We’ve brought in some key individuals in pivotal positions with plenty of experience and we look forward to seeing the impact they have on what remains largely a young and exciting group.
“We cannot wait to get into the new season now and believe we have the squad capable of going all the way.”
Stirling County squad to compete in the 2021 FOSROC Super6
Reyner Kennedy - CAPTAIN
Josh Van Vureen
Dean Taylor Menzies
*FOSROC Contracted Academy Player